Sunday, February 24, 2008

Jury Service

It has been such a hectic week that I have not had time to write about the jury service. Mary prudently suggests that I do not identify the specific trials nor am I allowed, by law, to discuss the jury's private deliberations.

What I will say is that I sat on two panels: one trial each week and the jury acquitted in both cases.

In the first trial my personal view was that both complainant and defendants were lying but for different reasons. A "not guilty" verdict was not difficult to arrive at.

In the second case I was sure the accused was guilty but based purely on the evidence presented by The Crown we could not be *sure* - tafka "beyond reasonable doubt". In the end it went to a majority verdict based on some good defence work and the poor quality evidence put forward by the prosecution. Bit of an own goal by the police and CPS.

There were various instructive and entertaining aspects to the whole business. One of which was hearing Mi'lud and learned counsel utter the F-word and other demotic English phrases in their best BBC English.

Another item was the little ritual exchange as each police-person gave evidence:
Counsel "Did you make notes?"
Police person "I did."
Counsel "And were those notes made within two hours of the events?"
Police person "They were."
Counsel "And were the events still fresh in your mind when you made those notes?"
Police person "They were."
Counsel "Would you like to consult those notes?"
Police person, turning to the bench "If I may Mi'lud."
Mi'lud "You may"
Counsel "Thank you Mi'lud."

At the end of the evidence the usher swears an oath to conduct us to a "private and convenient place" where we deliberate our verdict. I have to say that in both trials we, as a group, took our responsibility seriously and a good quality discussion, based on the evidence, lead to the verdict.

Wikipedia on: Jury (England and Wales)

1 comment:

Stuffy said...

As an ex-plod I well recall the courtroom exchange about the timeliness of the notes, it's got a little less formal since my day, we informed M'lud that our notes were either contemporaneous (if during interview), or immediately after the event. In reality they tended to be written up when you had ten minutes for a fag and a brew and involved exchanges like "what did he call you after you stepped on him ?"